The plan was for Jan to do some shopping whilst I went on the Dudley Canal Trust tour of the canals into the mine shafts beneath Dudley.
I was almost certain that last time we were here the large Dudley Canal Trust Visitor Centre didn’t exist.
My failing memory can’t be that bad because this is the new visitor centre opened by Princess Anne in 2015. I duly purchased a ticket for the boat tour. Obviously I look young because I was charged for an adult ticket rather than a senior. Jan tells me I have to ask. I’ll describe the 40 minute tour in tomorrows post.
Waiouru is currently moored on the off-side adjacent to a brick towpath and fence. On the other side of the fence is the Black Country Museum. There is a locked gate in the fence between the museum and the towpath near the stern of Waiouru.
This morning Jan heard the sound of a horse walking along the towpath.
This is the bridge with the mould on the bricks where I slipped over several days ago. The horse is obviously from the Black Country Museum and with the harness on it I assume it’s used to tow narrowboats inside the museum. I can’t think of a reason why they would want to walk the horse on the short length of towpath when there is a much larger area to exercise it inside the museum grounds?
Well I went of on the tour of the mines whilst Jan decided to return to the boat where she found Waiouru and the hire boat behind both floating free of the moorings in the middle of the canal. She subsequently realised some of the museum staff had untied the boats and released them to float in the canal. Why? Because they had brought a second horse out of the museum to walk the towpath and it had slipped, falling into the canal. The staff had then released both boats from their moorings as part of their effort to try and coax the panicking horse to swim (walk?) back round into the arm leading into the museum.
The fire brigade was called to assist in the effort.
Eventually the horse was coaxed around into the arm where it was fitted with slings and lifted out of the canal using a JCB loader.
One very cold and frightened boat engine was retrieved from the water. Of course during all of this I was underground and blissfully unaware of all the excitement. Meanwhile Waiouru drifted back towards the mooring where Jan was able to grab the centreline and resecure her.
After completing the tour I was carefully walking back up and over that very slippery bridge when I happened to notice a horse in the museum being attended to by people in periodic dress. So I took a photo.
That’s when I was approached by a man from the museum and requested me to not take photos. Of course I didn’t know why I shouldn’t take photos! I was on CRT property and it was just a horse being feed and having a coat placed on it.
No doubt the museum will now review their risk assessment and decide on an alternative location to walk the horses.